Disclaimer: All that I say are just my thoughts and opinions and I am not stating that this is the absolute truth of the game. I may be wrong about some of the things I discuss, but these are simply my observations from playing this game for many years. I also understand that as MapleStory has changed, I have also grown up and developed a different perception of MapleStory and video games in general, which may sway my opinion. Nevertheless, I will try to approach this in such a way that points out the digression from the essence of an MMORPG, rather than a rant about how I miss my childhood.
One of the saddest aspects of the current MapleStory is it's slow descent from multiplayer emphasis to solo gameplay emphasis. This becomes much more apparent when players get to the Arcane River and beyond. When I look at MapleStory's timeline, I can see the slow but sure emphasis towards solo gameplay. They slowly made pq's less rewarding to do, they started to remove them all together, and the few that remain are huddled together into a zoo of party quests. Not only does this make party quests obsolete, it provides almost no incentive for players to travel and explore the Maple World. Hardly anyone besides bots go to Mu Lung, or Herb Town, or Aquarium. When party quests were viable, players would travel and explore which is one of the main things that this game was about. While there are some aspects of multiplayer gameplay such as certain arcane river pq's, end-game bosses, or guild capping, the main aspect of progression in this game, leveling up, is solo.
Now I can't say that this is some new development. I do remember people grinding back before Big Bang and asking people to cc from their map, etc. However, back then, players had an option. They had the option to participate in party quests, and multiplayer content in order to level up, or the few that were strong enough and dedicated enough could choose to grind to level up. Now, most players are almost forced to grind mainly by themselves in order to progress through this game. I say mainly because some players might be in a guild and have people kishin for them etc. The most interaction that players have when trying to level up in MapleStory today, is buying firestarter, kishin, or frenzy service. Once in a while, they will go to catch an MVP buff but that only lasts for a few minutes and players just go right back to the grinding in SoloStory. (Game might as well be called AutoBiography).
Today, party quests and multiplayer content is like an empty wasteland. The very few that do participate in party quests are usually higher level players that are in guilds and are already decently/somewhat established in the game. Even if a newer player wanted to do the party quests, they need to find other players willing to participate. This is a challenge for those newer players. Furthermore, if a player were to rely on party quests for progression, they would be at a huge disadvantage to those that grind by themselves, ultimately alienating them from the fast-paced MapleStory of today. This makes party quests obsolete in terms of progression.
While this is another topic altogether, I will briefly touch upon this topic. It is an extremely daunting task for a brand new player to start off in this game with the goal of progressing towards later/end game. There are just an insane amount of things that a player must consider such as Legion, Link Skills, Gear, Skills, Hyper Skill Passives, Hyper Stats, Nodes, etc. I believe that having the multiplayer progression that we once had would make this a much less daunting task as well as an enjoyable one.
One of the best things that Nexon did, was extend the multiplayer progression to higher levels, with Lion Heart Castle's party play maps. This continued to give the higher level players the option of either participating in multiplayer gameplay progression or once again, if they were strong enough and determined enough, to solo grind. However, once again, this content was removed and driven into the ground. The last sliver of hope that I have for this game is guilds, which provides that sense of community and multiplayer aspect to an extent.
In my eyes, if the current MapleStory were to be given a turn around towards the multiplayer progression that we once had, it would not only make the game more enjoyable, but also more beginner friendly, as well as giving it the soul that this game once had. If party quests were revamped and released from that cross-world prison, it would give players reasons to go out to different areas of Maple World rather than to just stick to a "MapleStory vXX.XX Lvl. 1-250 Training Guide". This game has many beautiful maps and amazing soundtracks and a lot of it is going to waste, just being a haven for botters. Furthermore, it would provide a stronger sense of community.
Introducing party play maps to the higher level content would be amazing. It would give incentive for even the higher end game players, who aim to solo difficult bosses, to interact and engage with others while training and progressing in the game. Anyone towards the higher levels knows how much of a grueling and treacherous journey it is to level up even once. This would give back a little bit of sanity, cough cough, while training and grinding during end game levels.
If you've made it to the end of this, thank you for your time, as I know it was quite a beefy post.
If people only want to be strong and see high numbers, then u have to change the game towards that. I barely see people that want to travel and explore,they all want o progress as fast as posibble and be the stronguest as fast as possible. Pqs are very time consuming, which goes against fast progression and fast rewarding feelings. Thats why i think they nerfed it. These days u can get to 200 in a couple hours if u prepare for it, if u only did pqs that wouldnt be viable since u need to go tothe place , find people, do the pq, a lot of the times when pqs were a thingaalot of people didnt know how it worked, so u need to teach them, etc. Nowadays, players are adults now, they dont have as much freetime as they used to have pre big bang,when a lot of us were kids and didnt have much to do so if u make the progression more time consuming , people would directly quit. At least thats how i see it. And yes , progression is slow at the moment, but i think that is easier to progress if ure solo than if ure doing pqs, at least how the game is designed rn. If we radically change the design then it could work, like other mmorpgs like wow and such.
Lets take lhc for example, sometimes,it took me 30-60 mins to find a party, when i was a kid i wouldnt mind ,but nowadays i have like 2-3 hours of play time, if i spend 1 hr looking only for a party id get bored/ annoyed and id simply lose interest and go watch netflix instead and quit the game. The game was strictly multipleyer before and if u couldnt find a party, solo progression was ****. Now its nice because if u dont find who to play u can always progress and play by urself. Id love for nexon to remove the pc meta though cuz for reboot not having a kish mule imakes u progress very slowly.
Firstly, thanks for taking the time to read and give your response, I really appreciate it. I agree that the company needs to adjust to the players' demands. However, it is Nexon's game and ultimately, the players adjust to what Nexon implements into their game. What the players want and how Nexon changes and updates their game are 2 separate things. The players can want something to change about the game and it will not always be the best change for the game. There are certain types of player feedback that I believe companies should work towards such as bugs and quality of life updates. However, when the players become the driving force of what updates come to the game and what becomes implemented into the game, it could lead to some issues.
I agree with you and also am one of those players that have less time and are looking for the most optimal methods of progressing in this game. However, this has, in my eyes, always been the case. Back during pre Big Bang, post Big Bang, and even for the Tempest update, training guides were filled with party quests and quest lines, such as Mushroom Kingdom. These also provided the meta-gear progression during that time. However, as the game continued to grow and expand, and Nexon added more content, new areas, and more gear to the game, party quests and quest lines were sort of neglected. These party quests weren't necessarily nerfed, they were just alienated by this lack of adjustment to the changing state of the game. With the new updates and new additions to the game, the players and the meta changed/adapted. However since much of the multiplayer progression content was not updated alongside, in order to adjust to this, players eventually adapted them out of the optimal progression guide. If the multiplayer progression was updated to account for the meta exp-gain and gear progression, it would be able to find a place in the current MapleStory meta as a somewhat viable/meta method of progressing.
Now I agree with you on the time aspect of the game. Many players have grown and as a result, have much less time than they used to. However, there are many newer and younger players in this game as well, with much more time. (Not saying spending extra time on MapleStory as a youth is necessarily beneficial). I'm not an expert about game-expansion or growth, but I think that if this game continues to lean towards solo progression, that it could be a little deterring to new/younger players. It could be a bit of a challenge for newer players to find a place in the community if they are not well established in the game or if they aren't already a part of some other community (Reddit, Discord, etc.) Having multiplayer progression could make the integration of newer players into the community less of a challenge. Yes, there are always going to be parties and players that will not take in weaker or less experienced players, but there are also many players that are willing to take them into parties. This is similar to the current game. When new content is first released, there will always be players looking to form the strongest party and clear the content. But as time goes on, players become more lenient and more accepting of weaker/newer players.
Personally, one of the most deterring things about quest lines and other non-meta content is its cutscenes. The non-skipable cutscenes take up way too much time and leave some players more frustrated rather than engaged with the story. They should change this back to the old dialogues, where you were not sent into a cutscene and can choose to read or just skip the dialogue. When I say this, I mean the old quest dialogue boxes without the screen changing into non-playable mode.
I also agree with you that it is faster to play this game solo. However, I do not believe that it is necessarily easier, as being faster doesn't imply that it's easier. In order to progress "relatively" fast in the late to end game, players need to be quite well established in the game (Legion, Link Skills, Gear, Exp Buffs, Spawn Enhancers, etc.) So I agree with you. If the game were radically changed towards this meta again, it could work. However, this is a pipe dream considering the massive amount of stuff on Nexon's plate right now, and therefore this post is just food for thought I guess. These changes don't need to occur all in one massive update like Big Bang, but could be implemented gradually. I am reaching mid to late game and I agree that being able to play solo does have its benefits and can be nice at times. However, what I'm suggesting is to have a viable/meta option of being able to progress multiplayer. Once again these are just my observations from playing this game through many metas and updates.
Maple is successful in their home country of Korea, and be it due to the way they have conditioned the players or through the region's
questionablepreferences, they see no reason to extend any extra effort on what they already deem satisfactory. Even if the questions and answers here are the right ones, they're not the right ones that Nexon wants to see right now. Think about it, why do you think Maple has so much technical problems even to this day? They've always focused on the short-term. Granted, sometimes they do think of the long-term, like when they fixed pet loot lag and reworking login loading times, but those are few and far between.
And this is the other thing. Maple is no longer an MMORPG. It's a glorified gacha. They designed it that way for years now. Tedious content stretched for a longer period of time than it should with a loot box option hanging over your head with the promise of making progress (getting stronger) faster. It's no longer about exploring because they made sure to make every map design into corridors leading to dead ends. It's no longer about multiplayer because its exploitable/too hard to balance or implement/have to appeal to all the whales who want damage and therefore needs to be completely erased. It has to be about solo grinding, despite the player-power vastly outstripping mob difficulty, thus making it a tedious repetition of moving around the same map with no difficulty for hours on end.
Sure, it's not like these changes were made to worsen Maple, and were in fact implemented to fix some of its prior issues (of which were many), but Maple definitely has more potential that what its current iteration is right now.